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Monday Report | 02·28·11

By James

In case you’re like me, and didn’t watch the OSCARs – here are the results

Check out Diana’s review of SCAD’s Entrepreneurial Forum by David Sherwin – Being an Agency of One

The Economist explores consumer backlash after Starbucks’ rebrand.

Great Advice for Young Designers (Hat Tip to Mike Gilger)

Check out the new Type Specimen App

A sweet tree house with trees inside

Did you know that Google Docs Viewer now supports Photoshop Files?

Check out this sweet color pallet

For your mandatory info-graphic pleasure, An Internet Timeline of the Egyptian Uprising

Know your type: Myriad

Top fonts of 2010Font retailer MyFonts compiles a list of the most popular typefaces over the past year, based on actual sales.

Good Reads: Redesigning MailChimp, 10 Lessons for Young DesignersInterview: Designer Michael Carney Talks About The Black Keys, The Grammys, and Being a DiscoDJ, The Disconcertion of Spec. (Courtesy of DesignWorkLife)

Filed under: Monday Report


Free Font Friday: Dekar

By James

Dekar is a cool little font, with a very unique feel to it.  Thanks to the folks over at FontFabric we have two free weights (Light and Regular).

Download Dekar Now


Format: Opentype (.otf)
Compatible: PC & Mac
Details: 162 Character Set, Manual Kerning, Tracking / Pairs


Filed under: Free Font Friday


Being an Agency of One

By Diana

Last Thursday I attended a presentation at SCAD’s Entrepreneurial Forum by David Sherwin, a Senior Interaction Designer at frog design.

I didn’t really know what to expect since I was mostly drawn in by the title “Being an Agency of One”, but I found myself connecting with a lot of the experiences he shared during his presentation.

It was a mixture of experiences and advice that he came up with along with team of professionals in the design and marketing industry. It also had a strong focus on project management and profitability.

David offered in his lecture a lot of information that one would be able to obtain only after having coffee or a few beers with the owners of an agency or creative studio.

At the beginning of the lecture, he explained how agencies make money.

Well… by creating cool stuff, one may think. But in reality, lots of companies make their money from a variety of sources such as re-selling services (media buying, hosting), giving away content (blogs, tutorials) or selling proprietary assets (software, processes, etc.). Depending on what areas are more profitable and also depending on the level of involvement, staff hours need to be allocated accordingly.

After each agency has the materials they use as their currency, they need to figure out how they will engage in business with others. This part involves setting the rules of engagement and having a talk with clients to let them know what they can expect from the agency and what the agency is expecting from them. It is incredibly important to have this conversation because a lot of professionals in the creative industry wrongly assume a client is a client, and when they contact the agency, the agency is obligated to bend over backwards to accommodate their needs and expectations.

David also touched on the importance of saying no, whether it’s because the client needs something outside of our field of expertise, or because they have a very limited budget that won’t allow for our best effort. This will help the client understand we are a creative partner, and not just a vendor.

The main point I walked away with was that it is very important to know that whatever your structure (large agency, medium agency, small agency or freelancer) you need to position yourself as what you are and play on your strengths.

Each structure is specifically designed for different types of clients.

Large agencies usually are best for large companies, because sometimes the volume of their needs is only manageable by a really large team with very specific functions within the organization.

If you are a freelancer or a small agency, your full attention will be focused on the projects at hand, and the client will get personalized interactions every step of the way. There are varying levels of quality at this “size”, but generally if you find a good freelancer or small agency (i.e. Paragon) you’ve hit the jackpot.

Here’s why: generally with large agencies, you will get the best and most seasoned creatives at some point in the process, but the bulk of the work will be done by young and sometimes inexperienced employees, and there will be a huge cost associated with the agency’s service, not only because of their reputation, but also to cover their humongous overhead. With small agencies, you get all hands on deck, all levels of experience collaborating, because usually each person has a specific strength and for most projects, a variety of strengths will be needed.

I think I’ve covered only 20% of what his presentation contained, and maybe 0.02% of his extensive online materials, so if you want to know more, and get it straight from the source, I highly recommend following him on Twitter @changeorder and visiting his website.


Monday Report | 02·21·11

By James

“The game just completely changed”

- Ryan Carson

Something insane is happening in the creative industry and all of you need to know about it. Two recent events have completely changed the career prospects for Web Designers and Developers: 1) Frank Chimero’s Kickstarter project and 2) Natasha Wescoat’s live painting sessions.

›  Let me Explain …

Other than Frank Chimero’s project, if you are feeling extra nice you might think about supporting The Manual

It’s not every day that us designers get to do branding for … a king – but Julian Zimmerman really knocked it out of the park with his work with König Bansah
The Art of Flight looks to be the best winter sport film yet

Digging these sites – DotVita and SXSW Beer Camp
30 Inspiring examples of Slideshows in Web Design
In case you missed it, Google unveiled “Map your Valentine”
Some sweet wood patterns for your backgrounds, enjoy

Check out these State Motto’s

A brand refresh for Long John Silvers

Campaign Monitor recently launched a beautiful site for applications
William Defoe reminds us to make the Bold Choice

Step behind the scenes and take a rare tour of PIXAR Studios

Filed under: Monday Report


Free Font Friday: Orbitron

By James

Orbitron is a geometric sans-serif typeface intended for display purposes. It features four weights (light, medium, bold, and black), a stylistic alternative, small caps, and a ton of alternate glyphs. Orbitron was designed so that graphic designers in the future will have some alternative to typefaces like Eurostile or Bank Gothic. If you’ve ever seen a futuristic sci-fi movie, you have may noticed that all other fonts have been lost or destroyed in the apocalypse that led humans to flee earth. Only those very few geometric typefaces have survived to be used on spaceship exteriors, spacestation signage, monopolistic corporate branding, uniforms featuring aerodynamic shoulder pads, etc. Of course Orbitron could also be used on the posters for the movies portraying this inevitable future. Courtesy of League of Movable Type.

Download Orbitron Now

Filed under: Free Font Friday


Monday Report | 02·14·11

By James

I know we mentioned it earlier, but the 2010 Feltron annual report is live! I’ve already pre-ordered my copy (2 actually) of the print ver­sion, which features 4 spot colors and gold foil. I’ve purchased it every year and it never fails to impress.

How many Brands can you recognize after they have been Unevolved to just circles.

Hype for Type has a new site, check ‘em out.

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I’m pleased to share Kate Spade’s B Mine gallery, a cat a­log of e-cards made by var i ous artists and designers; as well FontShop’s 2011 edition of Valentype. (hat tip designworklife)

If you live in Brooklyn, you may have been lucky enough to see the work of graphic designer and custom chalk letterer Dana Tanamachi. Let us know if you have, iphone pictures welcome.

Mapping Stereotypes has just come out with the Calendar of Prejudice – a funny look at the world, satirically, through different cultures.

Debbie Does … an awesomely playful corporate id design by Brogen Averill.

The talented Taylor Pemberton has released his project Cavalier Essentials – I want them all.  “If Steve McQueen carried a beat-up leather duffle bag on the back of his motorcycle; what would be in it and how would the products look?”

The new Strokes album is going to be out soon, get your free teaser track here.

If you love The Volkswagen Force Commercial you will really like the extra minute of deleted scenes.

I have been following the work Kelli Anderson has done for Dig for Fire – which has been really neat.  Now the website has launched – and it is totally a work of art.

Filed under: Monday Report


Free Font Friday: Muncie

By James

The Lost Type Co-op is a collaboration between Riley Cran and Tyler Galpin.  In only 24 hours they created this entire project – including the free font Muncie – a strong, sturdy typeface inspired by the steel mills of the industrial age.

I first started seeing Galpin’s unique work on dribbble, and he has recently launched a new site – be sure to check out some of his other work.

Download Muncie Now

Filed under: Free Font Friday


Write, send, watch and repeat

By Diana

Bar Karma

Current TV’s Bar Karma is a real show. It will premiere tomorrow and it was created to give people the opportunity to contribute to the show in ways that haven’t been possible before. It was conceptualized by The Sims creator Will Wright as a way to build communities through collaborating creatively on a show. No need for agents, starving, or powerful contacts.

When contributors submit their ideas, these may or may not be used on the show, and if they are, they will be credited at the end of the episode but there is no money involved. This presents a bit of a problem because it can be seen as exploitative. The other side of the coin is that this system provides a way for people who have always been interested in writing for TV to test themselves in a community of people with the same interest and hopefully see their ideas produced professionally.

This article on Wired details the background of the idea.

After registering on the site, I got a chance to experiment with the StoryMaker, a pretty cool looking interactive tool that lets you pick from different scenes to create a 22 scene storyboard of an episode. It looks like a big funnel in which your choice of scenes get smaller and smaller as you approach the end of the episode. You can also see the lines connecting all of the scenes you have picked and you can jump from place to place and see how your story is altered by different variables.

You can decide to create your own scene by uploading a picture and a few lines of text. You can submit a succesion of scenes and use them as building blocks for the episode.

The overarching concept of a bar in which people get to explore their own current, past and future lives was also decided on by a group of anonymous collaborators. I have to admit, the premise of the show lends itself for a lot of cheesy sounding “man walks into a bar” kind of stories and I found tons of this on the StoryMaker, but there is a lot of potential for really creative stories.

StoryMaker Funnel

StoryMaker Funnel

Creating Scenes


Nicholas Felton’s Amazing Infographic Tribute

By Susan

Nicholas Felton is one of our favorite graphic designers. He is an absolute master of infographics and we’ve become a tad obsessed with his personal annual reports. To call them brilliant and inspiring is a total understatement.

Click on each of the reports below to see what I mean.

Felton’s work is absolutely beautiful. To think of the meticulous data collection it takes to do these is impressive, but it’s the story he tells in numbers, charts and graphs that is so interesting.

His most recent report is a masterpiece and is the most special so far because it’s actually about the life of his father, who passed away last September.

The report covers a massive amount of date including birth, parents (including the sobering detail that his father was killed in a concentration camp), education, places he lived, postcards he received, places he visited & stamps in his passport, his favorite coffee companion, his music collection and his collection of books.

Click on the red cover above to see the pages in detail.

This is a truly touching tribute to his father.
And it makes me think about all the things I don’t know, but should, about my own parents.

Felton’s reports are available for purchase on his site.

Filed under: Design, Inspiration


Sponsored Celebrity Encounters

By Diana

Brooklyn Decker

Brooklyn Decker for the Barnes and Noble and Esquire campaign.

Augmented reality for a while seemed like 3-d TV’s, something that looked good, but that hadn’t really found a way to become relevant to people’s lives. I knew those holographic messages on Star Wars and all that teleporting on Star Trek could not be as far into the future as they seemed.

Today, there is a way in which this technology can make something that is very improbable in real life, happen on demand.

Why ask for an autograph from a cranky celebrity, when you can actually take a picture with them on your own time and without the respecting the norms of personal space?

That is what Barnes and Noble and Esquire let you do through their new augmented reality campaign.

All users have to do is download the free iPhone app, and go to one of the participating Barnes and Noble stores to find a life-size picture of Brooklyn Decker (February’s Esquire cover girl) posing for pictures next to the magazine section. Brooklyn can be photographed in 5 different poses and users are actually encouraged to share these pictures in each of the partner’s Facebook pages and on the model’s Twitter account.

The beauty of this technology is that it can be adapted to every situation. It’s not something reserved exclusively for national giants.

People in our own community that have huge followings such as our dear Paula Deen, could multiply themselves and be where their fans are, even if their schedules didn’t allow them to do it in person. Restaurants could produce AR images of their menu, and people could get a sense of what they could be having for lunch or dinner if they stopped by that particular establishment. There could be photos of famous celebrities that pop-up next to the landmarks that were featured in their movies. Imagine having a picture of Forrest Gump sitting on a bench offering you one if his iconic chocolates. And the list could go on…

This is certainly a new take on this technology that opens new possibilities for interactions with your customers. Those dreams of holographic messages and being in two places at once are finally becoming a reality!

What do you say? Would an AR version of your favorite celebrity be enough to satisfy your curiosity?